California State Park Rangers Association
1st Quarter 2018
Transformation → Transfixion*
With the passing of 2017, I've been thinking about the plight of the department over the last years.
It seems to me that the multi-year transformation process has transfixed the department in a "neither here nor there" stasis affecting most of the department's functions and especially field operations.
An analogy that comes to mind is of a mud slide that initially took out many good (and some not-so good) programs, policies and goals. The transformation mud slide, after disrupting much of the department, began moving slower and slower until it stopped and congealed in place, without producing many encouraging results. It looks to me that most of the positive accomplishment that occurred during the transformation period would have most-likely happened under the old non-transformed department.
What is left of the Transformation → Transfixion is the "Reorg." The reorg largely appears to be an effort to put the peas under different pods, changing mostly who reports to who and where paperwork is filed. At the field operation level, changing where a sector or park unit reports, doesn't necessarily produce efficiency inspire positive action or improve public services. Traditionally, reorganizations gave the impression internally that things were different, but didn't necessarily make essential services any better.
It's hard not to have a mostly negative view of the effects of the many forces that have buffeted the department over the last decade. My positive side hopes the real bottom has been reached and that the current cadre of dedicated staff will keep working to progress the department in carrying out its primary purpose of better-quality service to the public and protection of the park resources that we all love.
I am encouraged to see the many staff-generated projects and efforts that are regularly reported in the weekly briefing. These steadfast efforts are taking place despite the funding, staffing and leadership challenges and shortfalls that still appear to exist in the department. My belief is that the fundamentals, namely good management/leadership, adequate funding, and dedicated staff, are what really moves an agency forward over time.
Going into 2018, it appears that the department is still missing two of these vital components.
*Transfixion definition: 1. Something that captures all your attention so that you are unable to act. 2. To make motionless, as if impaled.
I hope you will consider becoming involved in some of CSPRA’s many efforts and projects. Please feel free to write me with your comments and opinions. Mike Lynch
President M.G. Lynch